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Baker's Dozen

Summer 13: Malcolm Middleton's Favourite Albums
Nicola Meighan , July 13th, 2016 08:42

Following the release of his sixth album, Summer Of '13, and before Arab Strap play their anniversary gigs later this year, the musician talks Nicola Meighan through the records that have had the biggest effect on him


Jackson C. Frank – Jackson C. Frank
I was through doing a session at the BBC in Edinburgh and afterwards the engineer there said, have you heard this guy before? And I hadn't, so I went home and listened to him. I had an immediate affinity with this record. It doesn't sound like anything else that came out at the time, the mid-1960s. It hasn't aged at all. It opened doors for me in terms of getting into stuff like Davey Graham, Wizz Jones, John Renbourn, and for a while that was all I was listening to. I can't pick it apart, I'm not musical enough, but I've learnt some of his songs by looking at tabs online.

Jackson C Frank's songs sound intricate but they're not really. His playing style had quite a big influence on me, because I don't really stretch that far when I play, I don't move my hands much up and down the fretboard. The title track's great – even though I have an aversion to the blues and songs that mention the blues – and the songs just get better from there in. I covered one of them, 'Just Like Anything', on Sleight Of Heart, but my favourite is 'My Name is Carnival'.

Like I said before, I'm not a huge lyric fan. I like lyrics to poke out, to be part of the music, in a poetic way that triggers thoughts and feelings within you, without necessarily reading lines or having stories. And I think this album does that amazingly well. You've got no idea what he's talking about. The guy's obviously very poetic, and has had a really hard time, and he changes the bad experience into something quite beautiful.